Sole Representative Visa – Now Closed

If you are an overseas national looking to work in the UK for your company or expand your business onto British shores, we can help you apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa that would let you and dependents live and work in the UK as the Sole Representative Visa Route has now been closed.

Our Success Stories

Google Reviews Feefo Reviews The Law Society

Sole Representative Of An Overseas Business Visa

The UK sole representative visa is more formally known as the Representative of an Overseas Business visa, and grants its holders an array of living and working privileges in the UK. The main draw of this visa is that it would permit you to stay in the UK for an initial three-year period – and this could potentially be extended by another two years.

During your UK stay, you would be able to work full-time for your foreign-based employer, extend your own UK living and working rights to family members (‘dependents’) and apply to postpone your sole rep visa’s expiry date. This visa could eventually pave the way for you to gain the permission you would need to settle permanently in the UK – with your above-mentioned dependents in tow. 

Nonetheless, you would need to jump through various legal hoops before being handed a sole representative visa for UK residency. Our award-winning, London-based solicitors can guide you on your UK sole representative visa application in order to maximise its chances of success. We can also continue to hold your hand as your new corporate adventure in the UK develops.

You naturally don’t want to be caught out by any surprise aspects of UK immigration law. Our lawyers are dedicated to helping clients not only take advantage of sole representative visas, but also protect their living and working rights under the scheme. For more information, please call 0208 215 0053.

Recent Sole Representative Visa Success Stories

How can you help me get a UK Sole Representative Visa?

Our offices are located in central London, and our team’s experience of the UK immigration sector exceeds 25 years. Our immigration solicitors adopt a dynamic and progressive mindset enabling them to help individuals and businesses alike establish a presence in the UK.

As one of the world’s largest economies, the UK makes an appealing destination for businesses looking to extend their market reach. We have helped numerous innovative businesses around the world to establish a UK presence – and a sole rep visa would let you do so especially cost-effectively.

We can familiarise you with the fees you could need to pay to obtain a UK sole representative visa. When you first engage our solicitors to help you with your application, we will offer a fixed fee – lending you financial certainty as well as the ability to more easily budget for your application.

Our policy of project managing all of our clients’ cases has led us to achieve a high sole representative visa UK success rate – enabling many international workers to secure a brighter future for themselves and helping many businesses to affordably sample the British market.

What is a UK Sole Representative Visa?

A UK sole representative visa – which you might see customarily referred to in government documents as a Representative of an Overseas Business visa – lets overseas companies increase their commercial presence in the UK by sending a senior representative to the country.

While posted to the UK on a long-term basis, this representative – otherwise known as the ‘sole representative’ – will have the responsibility of setting up a branch or subsidiary of this overseas business and making major business decisions in its name.

Once you have been given a UK sole representative visa, you will be able to stay in the UK – and expand your business there – for three years and apply for your visa to be extended by a further two years. If your UK stay lasts five years, you will have the option of filing an indefinite leave to remain (ILR) application – which, if successful, would permit you to settle permanently in the UK.

Am I elegible for a UK Sole Representative Visa?

You would need to satisfy a range of entry criteria in order to apply for a UK sole representative visa. The first legal hurdle to jump is that you must be either:

  • The sole representative of an overseas business intending to establish a UK branch or a wholly owned subsidiary in the UK
  • An employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation, with this employer having posted you on a long-term assignment to the UK

You must also be capable of financially supporting yourself in the UK without needing to dip into public funds. At the application stage, you may also be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of the English language. If so, our solicitors can advise you on how to prove your English-language aptitude.

If you are specifically seeking an overseas business representative visa, you must also have the skills, experience and knowledge to do the work your parent company intends you to do in the UK.

What role does my Parent Company play in this application?

If you want to apply as a sole representative of a foreign-based business, this company – and your place within it – must also meet certain criteria. For example, it is important that you:

  • Are employed outside the UK by an active and trading business
  • Were recruited outside the UK by this business
  • Occupy a senior position within this business without owning or controlling most of it
  • Plan to establish this company’s first commercial presence in the UK – whether you seek to set up a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary

Meanwhile, the headquarters and principal place of your parent company must be – and be set to remain – outside the UK.

If this parent company has a legal entity in the UK without employing staff or doing any business in the UK, you may still be eligible for an overseas representative visa. Please reach out to our London-based immigration solicitors for further guidance on this subject.

Why Customers Love Us ?

How can I apply for a UK Sole Representative Visa?

If you will be applying from outside the UK, the earliest you can do so is three months before you travel. So, if you are set to travel on 15 June, the earliest date you would be able to submit your UK sole representative visa application is the 16 March prior.

When sending an application from outside the UK, you can expect the UK Government to decide on your visa within three weeks. If you instead apply from within the UK, a decision should reach you within eight weeks.

UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration, a division of the Home Office) will let you know if they anticipate your application taking longer to process – perhaps because your supporting documents need to be verified or you are required to attend an interview. 

Whether you will be applying outside or inside the UK, you must do so online. When applying, you will need to book an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide biometric information in the form of fingerprints and a photo.

What documents do I need for a UK Sole Representative Visa?

During the application process, you will have to submit supporting documents – whether by uploading them via the online service or getting the documents scanned at your UKVCAS appointment. The documents you must provide when applying include:

  • A current passport or other valid travel identification
  • Evidence of your ability to support yourself and any dependents during your UK stay (this evidence can include bank statements or payslips for the last six months)
  • Proof that you satisfy the English-language requirement

Applying from overseas would require you to also provide:

  • Information about where you will stay while in the UK
  • Results of your tuberculosis test if your current country requires you to take this test

The other documents you would also need to include will depend on whether you are applying as a sole representative of an overseas business or instead as an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation.

Why Choose Us For Your Sole Representative Visa?

We Are Dedicated

We Are Committed

We Are Professional

We Are Result Driven

We Are Strategic Thinkers

We Are Commercially Aware

Contact our Immigration Solicitors In London on 0208 215 0053 or
via to make your enquiry.

Do I need a Business Plan for the Sole Representative Visa?

The UK Immigration Rules do not include a watertight requirement for sole rep visa applicants to provide a business plan. In practice, however, a well-prepared business plan could help you to satisfy several requirements specified in the Immigration Rules.

This business plan could reassure the Home Office that the parent company genuinely intends to not only establish a UK-based branch or subsidiary but also keep the parent company’s main hub of corporate operations overseas.

If you are unsure how to write a business plan sufficiently addressing issues like these, you can ask our writers to draft an excellent business plan for you. Once we have sent you this plan and you have informed us of any revisions that must be made to it, we can proceed to finalise the plan and provide you with copies in Word and PDF formats. To learn more about this service, please call 0208 215 0053.

What are the costs of applying for a Sole Representative Visa?

If you apply from outside the UK, a sole representative visa will incur a fee of £610. Applying from within the UK would require you to pay not only a £704 fee for the visa itself, but also £100 to £200 for your biometric information – that is, your fingerprints and a photo – to be taken.

As part of your application, you must also pay what is called the ‘healthcare surcharge’. You must make this payment with a debit or credit card and then return to the online application in less than 30 minutes.

The size of the surcharge you would have to pay can be affected by numerous factors – including whether you are applying alone or set to bring dependents with you to the UK, your age and whether or not you are currently in the UK.

How long does the Sole Representative application process take?

This can be difficult to ascertain in advance, as the exact duration of the process would depend on various factors – including whether you apply from outside or inside the UK, and how long it would take for you to prepare all of the necessary supporting documents before you start formally applying.

Generally, if you apply from outside the UK, you should receive a decision within three weeks. If your current visa is about to expire, rest assured that you can remain in the UK for however long it takes for you to receive a decision on your UK sole representative visa application.

Meanwhile, applying from inside the UK typically means you will get a decision within eight weeks.However, in certain circumstances, it could take longer; for example, if you have a criminal conviction. UKVI will let you know if there are hold-ups in processing your application.

What happens after I receive the Sole Representative Visa?

There are various paths you could take once your sole rep visa UK application has been approved. For example, if you are a business owner who has posted a senior representative to the UK, you would be able to test this market without the kind of costly overheads you could have previously faced in the past through, for example, establishing a branch office and recruiting local staff to it.

While sole representatives can apply to have their original three-year visa extended, this application’s chances of success would depend on how well the representative has operated during the initial tenure of their visa.

A year after commencing permanent residency in the UK, an applicant will also be able to seek British nationality. Sole representatives can also combine their sole rep visa with other categories of visa to help themselves secure 10-year residency rights.

What Our Customers Say About Us

What if my Sole Representative Visa application is refused?

If your sole representative visa application – or application to extend a sole representative visa you already hold – is turned down, you could resort to requesting what is known as an ‘administrative review’. If you fail to make headway with this, you might be able to ask for a ‘judicial review’.

Before you start exploring any of these avenues, however, you should contact our team. Our immigration solicitors are thoroughly experienced with handling sole rep visa UK cases, and so will be able to help you ascertain why your particular application was refused.

Once you have this insight,you can maximise your chances of successfully challenging the decision. We can provide you with a high standard of legal advice and representation, and clearly and accurately answer any questions you may have about how to object to your application refusal.

Has Brexit affected the Sole Representative Visa?

As a result of Brexit, EU and non-EU citizens are now treated on a level footing when it comes to sole representative visa applications. Consequently, establishing corporate operations in the UK is trickier for many overseas businesses than it once was.

For many international businesses hoping to entrench themselves in the UK market, the sole representative visa is deemed a flexible means of entry. Nonetheless, you should think carefully about whether this is really the type of UK visa you should try to obtain.

For example, if you are a new entrepreneur lacking an established overseas business, you should consider the Start-up visa. If you would like to start a new business in the UK without the involvement of an overseas parent company, look into potentially acquiring the Innovator visa.

If your goal is to get a job with a UK employer, a sole rep visa would not provide you with the route to doing this. The most suitable UK visa for your particular needs might be a Skilled Worker visa.

Sole Representative Visa FAQ's

1. Can I work elsewhere on the Sole Representative Visa?

The terms and conditions to which you would agree when accepting a sole representative visa would require you to remain employed only by the company that sent you to the UK. You are therefore prevented from:

  • Having any other business interests in the UK
  • Undertaking any part-time or consulting work for any other UK company
  • Leaving your current parent company to join another UK company full-time

Other visa options might be available to you if you would like to take any of the three above-mentioned steps not permitted on the sole representative visa.

You could be eligible for the Global Talent visa if you show promise in a specific sector – while, if you are a healthcare worker, you could investigate whether you meet the eligibility criteria for a Health and Care Worker visa

No, as doing so would be violating one of the conditions to which you would have agreed while taking out the sole representative visa.

For this visa to stay valid, you would need to continue working for the parent company. This means you would not be allowed to leave this company and then start a new business all while continuing to hold the sole representative visa.

Neither would you be permitted to start a self-employed business while still working for the parent company and using the sole rep visa.

However, if you stay on this visa for a full five-year term and successfully apply to settle permanently in the UK, you will no longer be on the sole representative visa, thereby freeing you of various restrictions – including the visa’s ban on you starting a new business in the UK.

Sole representative visa guidance published by the UK Government states that, once someone has been granted this visa, their spouse – where they are accompanying or joining them – must not be a majority shareholder in the parent company. 

This rule is intended to prevent a situation where someone who has successfully applied for the sole rep visa when their spouse did not hold that majority shareholder position then transfers the majority of the parent company’s shares to the spouse set to accompany or join them in the UK.

Some sole representatives could have been tempted to do this if, for example:

  • They did not want the shares to leave the family
  • Their spouse was heavily involved in the parent company
  • Their spouse would have needed to travel to conduct business
  • Their spouse could not satisfy the 180-day absence requirement for settlement

However, the rules suggest that you and your spouse could together – not individually – hold a majority of shares in the parent company when you apply for and hold a UK sole rep visa. For more information and advice in relation to any aspect of your visa application, please call 0208 215 0053.

Any children aged between five and 16 that you bring over to the UK through your sole representative visa will be entitled to a free place at a state-funded school in the UK – and your children will not be denied places simply on the grounds of their immigration route.

Although there are limited charges at state-funded boarding schools, you are – in practice – unlikely to need to pay any specific fees simply to send your children to UK schools – unless those include any UK ‘public school’ (a privately-funded, fee-charging school).

Your sole rep visa will entitle you to bring your dependent children aged under 18 years with you to the UK. If you have offspring aged above 18, they might be able to legally reside in the UK through other means – such as by obtaining a Student visa if they are interested in studying in the UK.

No. The rules state that, when you apply for a sole representative visa, your parent company must not intend to use the visa to relocate the company’s headquarters to the UK.

Hence, once you have been given the visa and used it to form a branch or subsidiary in the UK, you must stay true to your original pledge not to move your company’s HQ to the UK.

Attempting to use the new branch or subsidiary to shift this parent company’s primary centre of business operations to the UK would risk your sole representative visa being revoked. We can advise you on how to avoid illegal immigration practices and penalties arising from them.

This would depend on whether, from the moment you initially apply for your UK sole representative visa, you intend to use it to live in the UK for a full five years and then use this milestone as an opportunity to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

If these are your plans, you must make sure you never spend more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12-month period from when you first enter the country on a sole representative visa.

This is so that you can demonstrate to the UK’s immigration authorities that you have been continuously carrying out your intended work duties in the country and mean to keep doing so.

If your application to stay permanently in the UK is rejected for what you believe are wrongful reasons, our top talented immigration solicitors can advise you on how to appeal the Home Office’s immigration decision. Simply call 0208 215 0053 today for more information and guidance.

How Can We Help You?

I would like to speak to Cranbrook Legal on the telephone.

0208 215 0053

I do not know what my immigration needs are and need to discuss my requirements.

Book A Free Consultation

I know what my immigration needs are, so I would to discuss my case.

Book An Appointment